Got an email last night that shook me up.

Dear IAJE Family,

It is with a great sense of loss that I inform you that despite drastic efforts to cut expenses and raise emergency funds, the IAJE Board has voted to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 of the Federal Bankruptcy Law…

The International Association for Jazz Education (formerly National AJE) has been around for as long as I can remember. Forty years, actually. Turns out, if this guy’s scathing blog post and others are right, people like me have been taken for fools for a long time. What have they been doing with my money?

I remember receiving a very short email back in January, from the IAJE board president, saying that Executive Director Bill McFarlin was stepping down, effective immediately. It was strange…no explanation, no nothing. Just, “He’s leaving, and we thank him for his many years of blah blah…”

Well, if the Open Sky Jazz guy is correct in his blog, McFarlin saw the handwriting on the wall. Years of excess and unchecked spending all backed up into what was a huge overdue bill to be paid. He jumped the Titanic before it sank, even though it was probably McFarlin himself who put the iceberg in the water.

I hope they’re all wrong about him, but it won’t much matter in the final analysis. IAJE is gone. Dead. There’s already a movement afoot to get it started again, but I am going to make my voice heard:

  • NO more “international” inclusion, at least for now – it’s taking on the whole world and there isn’t enough money for it. Over-diversification has killed many a business, and this was no exception. Start small, then build wisely.
  • Do NOT put jazz musicians in the position of business leadership! Unless they’re already CFOs of their own companies, get them the heck out of the comptroller’s office.
  • Ix-nay on the flamboyant, overdone, glitzy conferences at swanky hotels, where you pay $100 for the privilege of having hors d’ oeuvres with the board of directors. In fact, forget conferences altogether for awhile. Instead, get the jazz into the SCHOOLS. Hello — that was the initial purpose of IAJE anyhow.


What a bummer. Sad news indeed. It’s like losing a beloved uncle, and then finding out he was secretly a bank robber.

At least there’s Dunkin’ Donuts coffee this morning. I love Saturdays…

Fink out.

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